An immigrant and his family strive to maintain their burgeoning business while contending with urban violence and corruption during a particularly harsh New York City winter in 1981. Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac star in this urban drama from writer/producer/director J.C. Chandor.
Director: J.C. Chandor
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Oscar Isaac, Albert Brooks, David Oyelowo, Alessandro Nivola.
Release Date: Dec 31, 2014
Rated R for some Violence and Language
Runtime: 2 hr. 4 min.
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama
A Most Violent Year is a slow burner of a film that’s a fascinating character study. J.C. Chandor’s film is a morality tale at its heart as we watch a man fight to keep his principles in tact while trying desperately to succeed. It’s the kind of film that’s light on action and heavy on dialogue which can turn off some people, especially since the film is sold as a crime drama which it is an and isn’t. It’s very much in that vein but doesn’t follow the well worn path. At the center of the film is Oscar Isaac who is incredibly engaging and captivating as the lead. Isaac has a simmering intensity throughout which keeps the film engaging as its moves at a methodical pace. Jessica Chastain nearly steals the show as his wife and the film is so much better when she’s on screen. Chastain’s an actress whose impressed me more and more with each passing film and this maybe her best yet. Throw in some strong, if understated, supporting turns from Albert Brooks and David Oyelowo and you have a wholly impressive drama which feels like a throwback to headier films from the 70s.